Monday, January 9, 2017
This is a perfectly pleasant film from the people who brought us "Despicable Me" and its unfortunate 2015 follow-on, "Minions." A trailer at the theater suggested "Despicable Me 3" will be in theaters later this year.
The story here is about Buster Moon, the owner of a theater that is going broke. Buster is an enthusiastic and well-dressed koala with an iguana secretary, Miss Crawley, whose glass eye keeps popping out and causing no end of trouble.
Buster sets out to recapitalize his showhouse by staging a competition like "The Voice." Trouble begins when the size of the grand prize is announced erroneously as $100,000 and not the $1,000 Buster had intended.
When auditions begin, thousands of animals of all types -- except songbirds -- line up around the block. ("Sing" is set in a city that looks like a regular city except that its occupants are animals.)
After tryouts, a group of finalists is selected. Here the story goes a little "Rent" and "Chorus Line" with the finalists' stories of frustration. My favorite was the sweet Cockney gorilla kid whose father expects him to join the family bank-robbery gang. Others will sympathize with the overworked and resourceful housewife pig.
Anyway. Things get worse and worse for Buster Moon and his ragtag crew of striving singers, but it all works out in the end.
Sixty-five familiar pop songs are sung or sampled, mostly in 12-bar segments. Big-name actors read the characters' lines and do their singing. And of course there are twerking pigs and rabbits. These elements palliate the parents and older, worldlier siblings of the small children for whom the movie purportedly was made.
Last year was a pretty good one for children's movies. Of those I saw, my favorites were Storks and The Jungle Book, the two that I believe small kids would enjoy the most.